When the Falcons return to the postseason for the second straight year the first time in their franchise history this week, the Giants will make an appearance for the first time in three years thanks their division-clinching win over the Cowboys. Atlanta’s run to the playoffs is most deserving as they were outstatted in only one of their final 10 games of season. In addition, the Dirty Birds have cleaned up in games under head coach Mike Smith against inferior opposition, going 14-1 SU and 12-2-1 ATS in games with a win percentage of less than .666 in which they own the better record.
And speaking of owning the better record, it’s been an advantage for underdogs in the playoffs, too, as they are 18-12 SU and 20-10 ATS in non-Super Bowl postseason games since 1980. Granted, life on the playoff road has been wearisome for teams off a season-ending division game, but like the Saints, the Falcons were bounced from the playoffs as a favorite in their opening round game against the Packers and they figure to come fully focused today. That’s especially good news for squads that have the better record, as these teams are 23-9 SU and 20-12 ATS in fi rst round playoff games. Granted, the Giants have enjoyed great postseason success, going 18-7 ATS in their last 25 contests. But further examination fi nds the bulk of the money coming as a dog where they are 12-3 ATS taking points in the playoffs. To their credit, the G-Men played to the level of opposition this season, going 6-3 SU and 6-2-1 ATS against .500 or better opponents. And QB Eli Manning set an NFL record with 15 fourth-quarter touchdown tosses this season. The bottom line is the Falcons bring the better defense and the better running game into this fray – and we like dogs that own the better numbers.